Tun Dr Mahathir on “Media and National Development”

The two principles of media and freedom of press:

1. There is nothing absolute in this world. Freedom must always be limited with something and/or the environment that binds it

2. For every tool that we have, there is always more than one ways to use it; be it for good or evil deeds

That is what former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said at the opening of his keynote address this morning, dedicating the Perdana Discourse Series titled “Media and National Development”, at Perdana Leadership Foundation, Precinct 8, Putrajaya.


Over 250 people turned up. His distinguished guests include Tan Sri Sanusi Junid, former MB Kedah and Cabinet Minister, Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah, former Cabinet Minister and party President, Tan Sri Michael Chen, former President of Senate and Cabinet Minister, Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, former Ambassador and Executive Chairman of NSTP, Tan Sri Mazlan Noordin, former Editorial Adviser of NST, Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Arif, former CEO of Proton, Tan Sri Mazlan Ahmad, former Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Tan Sri Abdul Halil Mutalib, former LADA General Manager and DG of Customs and Tan Sri Dr. Mustapha Babjee, former DG of Vetenary Services.

Some of the All Blogs people were also there like Rocky, Nuraina A Samad, Zorro Unmasked, Zahrin “Sang Kelembai” Yassin and Raja Petra Kamaruddin of Malaysia Today. So did ‘Rantings by MM’ blog operator, Dato’ Paduka Marina Mahathir. The media students from UiTM were also present as the co-organiser is the UiTM think tank for civilisation, InQKA.

Tun Dr. Mahathir also said that when any of the world media talked about the press being controlled, they will never fail to mention Malaysia. Media is very important to disseminate information. Like a knife, it can be used positively and also can be used, negatively.

He said further that information that media brings will help the process of decision making, especially when people are “in the dark” about situation that surrounds them. The people should be wise enough to study and select which information is positive for them and it will be used for progress. However, sometime choose to tell media a completely wrong story. For example, the economy is not doing so well but the media said everything is fantastic.

Information available today can damage the society. For example is pornography. Previous society have no access to free pornographic materials like today, so there were much less sexual related crimes, which also include those against children.

Sex, Violence & Popularity

Tun Dr. Mahathir shared with the audience, when he first started the Multimedia Super Corridor, members of the International Advisory Panel (IAP) warned him against any form of censorship over the internet. He said, it is inline with the principle of ‘the right to know’.

He said reminded that ‘Sex and Violence’ sells and makes money. Those are the themes of so many of Western media which include film, tv and even video games. He said the consumers tolerated the exploitation against women and many actually love it, especially semi or nude shots. Therefore the demand grew.

He said there should be a balance between the desire to make money and contribute something to the process of national development. Its is important that media continue to be economically viable but he reminded that what is popular, does not mean it is good, positive and progressive for the society and process of national development.

“Rarely a newspaper succeeded in being popular and sells (but at the same time), do the right thing for national development”, said the former Prime Minister. For example, if they wrongly interpret certain angles about certain issues, it will create racial disharmony and create discomfort in the society. People always do not act rationally in some sensationalized reportings. Common sense is not actually common. “Sometime, people can be irrational”, he reminded.


On blogging, Tun Dr. Mahathir said the bloggers need to tell the truth. “The new media” will compliment the movement of information as there will be ‘spin doctors’ will ensure print media skewed some angle of certain news, especially that will affect an particular individual or collective individuals.

The intellectual discourse that followed afterwards on the topic “Media and National Development” include the thoughts of Dato’ A Kadir Jasin, former Chief Editor NST and now Malaysian Business editor and blogger, Steven Gan, founder of online newspaper ‘Malaysiakini’, an IT business startegist and renowned ‘Screenshots’ blogger, Jeff Ooi and Dr Kamalan Jeevan from International Medical University.

On the topic of moderation, Dato’ Kadir said practiced no restrains in his blog provided they adhere to simple universally accepted virtues like no profanities and incorrect facts.

Media Conference

At the media conference soon after, Tun Dr. Mahathir explained that he is still not shy to state that the Jews ruled the world by proxy and is in direct control of the western media. This is a fact and he will make no attempt to correct his earlier statements. The example he used was how the President was not supposed to declare a war unless Congress approved it.

On the issue about his earlier accusations that the Prime Minister own a house in Perth, he admitted it was the spur of the moment during the heat of the speech that he said that, based on rumours speculating around.

However, he thanked Raja Petra for correcting him and apologized openly about making the mistake that Khairy Jamaluddin himself made few weeks ago explained that his brother in law, Kamaluddin Abdullah is the one actually owns the property, where else two weeks ago Malaysia Today exposed that the house is registered under Patrick Lim’s wife’s name.

When asked about Proton merger with VW, then and now, Tun Dr. Mahathir explained that when VW went into merger mode with Proton a while ago, Proton was in a better position to bargain because their financial position was very strong and even had a lot of cash. Now the terms are different. His advice was “remove the management!”. He could cynically mean the management of another administration, in line with his speech in Johor Bahru on 10 February.

In this media conference, in response to the question about registering Bloggers, he reminded Bloggers that they should tell the truth and have a role to play to ensure that information is disseminated well to the public. “Stick to the truth. Do not embelish or make something up”, he uttered.

Tun Dr. Mahathir also said that the Sepang F1 racetrack is the greatest free annual advertisement for Malaysia which is worth at least RM one billion. It is sad for him to see Malaysia lost their annual Formula One series in the years to come, something successful since 1999.

On the issue of the Johor Menteri Besar announcing that they are interested to remove the Free Access Zone feature of Iskandar Development Region (IDR) but it was a Federal Government’s call, Tun Dr. Mahathir said the Government could explained the whole thing much earlier and quashed with all the uneasiness caused to the people, especially sensitivities against Singaporeans and other nationals through Singapore, freely enter into Johor, seamlessly without any inspection what so ever.

Published in: on April 18, 2007 at 17:57  Comments (8)  

Jed Yoong pressured?


I know this young lady, Jed Yoong. She is a cheery, humorous, casual and an open minded person. She is an editor with “Rocket” (English version), Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) mouthpiece. She also blogs under the pseudonym, Freelunch2020, www.2020freelunch.blogspot.com. Her boss is Tony Pua, www.tonypua.blogspot.com, the Oxford biz-wiz recently cashed out his dot com listed company and assumed the position of Economic Adviser to the DAP Secretary General. Tony is also the Executive Editor of the “Rocket”.


We have met several times and now we are friends. Sometimes we talked about politics, other times we talked about a lot of other things. We respected each other’s turf. She is so open, she even once told me “If you were a neutral person, I would have asked you to write/translate for “Rocket”, Malay section”. Of course simply I can’t. “Rocket” is a party bulletin.

For almost two weeks, we did not see her around. She was very busy with the by-election campaign in Machap. She was so busy that her car was stolen. Anyway, she popped by NPC last Friday night and we caught up on missing stories. We talked about politics and shared each other’s aspirations. There are some common grounds.

On the way home, she expressed her thoughts on the Education Policy and Chinese Schools system. She vehemently felt that there should be only one school system with a uniformed syllabus and medium of instruction. Obviously, her thoughts were off tangent to her party’s policy.

The next day (Saturday, 14 April), I noticed she put her thoughts (which she shared in my car), into her blog. I thought that was bold. Then again, I thought she was a new breed of DAPSY who are not too comfortable with the Chinese chauvinistic policies and direction the DAP is going.

Suddenly, something went amiss. This was recorded in her blog, today:

Dear all,

This will be my last post.
It has been a good run. And thanks for all the support.
All the bestest and c u guys around in cyberspace.
I will miss my blog and all the arguments n views.
But it will continue to exist in cyberspace. Capturing a time in Malaysia as the most exciting general election is about to begin.

Take care.

Freelunch 2020 a.k.a. Jed Yoong


I was flabbergasted. Why is Jed quitting the Bloggosphere? I looked further and found her Saturday’s posting about her thoughts on the Chinese schools have gone and instead there is this short notice:



Hi all. I would like to clarify that my stand on abolishing all government-funded schools with Chinese as the medium of instruction is strictly my own and does not represent the views of DAP. I support national schools with English as the medium of instruction, Malay taught as a compulsory language and an optional third or even fourth languages to be taught. This does not represent the views of DAP.”

I was still unable to speak to Jed about this, yet. I am assuming that some DAP hardliners stumbled upon her writings and must have caused some uneasiness, somewhere. I am also assuming that Jed Yoong was pressured to make these drastic actions and decisions.

But why? Isn’t there separation and distinction between Jed Yoong, her blog and DAP? So Jed Yoong is unable to express her own personal thoughts which are against party’s policies and struggle? What ever happened to her human rights and freedom to express?

That is the very principle that All Blogs stood for. Jed Yoong had her thoughts set on a liberal approach on the education system which could foster the national integration agenda and narrow the cultural and racial gap between races.

I was happy as a member-for-life UMNO man, I saw a middle path on something which I could agree upon, with a DAP woman. The same concept which could positively attribute progress for nation building, as Bangsa Malaysia.

Now, its short-lived. Obviously her writings attracted adverse opinion from her party hardliners.

If Jed Yoong was to be penalized by this posting, then I am sorry for her executioner! No one should take Jed Yoong’s thoughts away from her. Not now, not ever!



An update on Jed Yoong.

She was mugged by four men on two motor cycles near her home in Taman Megah, Kuala Lumpur earlier tonight (circa 10pm, 22 April 2007). He sling bag was grabbed. She lost a camera, her wallet which contained her MyKad, driver’s license and credit and bank cards and other personal item.

She screamed at the top of her lungs but no one heard her. She is lucky that she was not hurt. However, I must imagine she was traumatised by the frightful experience.

Poor Jed!

Published in: on April 18, 2007 at 00:43  Comments (17)